Quinceaneras in Colombia
“Quinceañera” also called « fiesta de quince años » is the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. If the celebration varies significantly across countries, it has a great importance in Colombia where it is very traditional and common.
From an anglo-saxon perspective, the festival would seem a combination of a “sweet sixteen” birthday party combined with a coming out ball for debutantes. The « quinceañera”, i.e. the birthday girl usually wears a big colorful dress that is the visible centerpiece of this celebration and mirrors what Cinderella might’ve worn to her fairytale ball.
The “Quinceañera” is usually considered as miniature weddings and a lot of families do not hesitate to spend millions of pesos to organize the event, even among the poorest ones.
As a woman myself, I decided to go and meet these girls in order to better understand what this celebration really means for them and their family. I spent two months in Bogota and met various “Quinceañeras” in their home and took a portrait of each girl, posing in their own environment with their birthday dresses.